OK, this is a record for me. 7 day tour and 7 days of rain. Today was predicted to be warm and sunny all day but instead we hovered around 60°, nasty headwind all day with some wicked gusts, mostly clouds, rain and an occasional peek of sun.  We rode mostly along the shores of Lake Huron and did have some very nice views. 

This little guy is Elliot age 7, the youngest rider on the tour and rode the entire 340 miles on a triple with his 10 year old sister and their dad. Every single person got to know and love Elliot. 

Cedarville is the area’s major shopping center and the traffic was heavy along the highway.  Here is the Shell Art Gallery. 
A little more of Cedarville. Lunch today was a Twix bar and bottle of Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino while standing in a gas station. 

This one’s for Dorothy, there was a brief period of blue sky and sun.

The Monarch Butterfly population has seen a severe decline recently. The Upper Peninsula plays a key role in their survival so the Superior Watershed Partnersip has taken on a project to try and promote the population.  The SWP has distributed over 10,000 milkweed seed packets to Upper Peninsula communities, schools, churches and community groups on Lake Superior, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. 

Dick Bartz sent me an interesting article about the project. http://superiorwatersheds.org/swp-helps-protect-severely-declining-monarch-butterfly

And we’re back. Time for a warm shower before the drive home. 

I had three flats which is extremely rare for me. One was a cut in the sidewalk so I used the old folded dollar bill trick to create a boot and it held. 

Even though we had rain every day I only had to actually ride the bike in it 3 days and I never had to set up or take down my tent in the rain so it could have been worse. 

Thank you to everyone who read my blog and I really appreciate the comments some of you left for me, even though I didn’t respond to most of them. It felt like getting mail from home. 

De Tour 64 miles 

Today we ride along the St. Marys River which is the primary shipping lane for the Great Lakes freighters. Our destination is pronounced de TOUR with the accent on the second half, not DEE tour and has a population of 400. It means turning place where the river empties into Lake Huron and ships have to make a sharp turn to head down to the Straits of Mackinac. 

Today gave us a bit more scenery to look at than previous days but the SAG stops ran out of food and there were no options to buy lunch today so the Raber Township Hall made an excellent lunch for us but it wasn’t until mile 50. 

Pickford is home to the 300 or so horses from Mackinac Island over the winter. They supposedly have ideal soil and climate for growing a superior grade of hay. 

The Pickford Museum had many interesting artifacts
One that I found particularly interesting was the baseball uniform of Rosemary Stevenson. She grew up near here on a dairy farm, milked the cows in the morning and went to practice in the afternoon at Pickford High School. She played in the All American Girls Professional Baseball Leauge and her story is told in the movie “A Leauge of Their Own”. 

Just a wide spot in the road is Goetzville where Yooper’s can gather.  This will make sense if you read the first article of this trip. 

Another day when the rain was supposed to stop by 10 am but lasted all day.  The utilities department let us use a hose to wash some of the filth off our bikes which was really appreciated. 

My grandson would have a ball here in the school yard. This is less than half of the play equipment. 

Layover Sault Ste. Marie

Rain for 6 days in a row so far. It’s only 59° when I started walking to the laundromat but the rain began again so got back in the tent and sleeping bag at 9am for an hour. I finally got my laundry done and walked out into another shower. 

I walked over to the Soo Locks which allow ships to navigate the 21foot drop from Lake Superior to Lake Huron. Soo means Shallow Rapids.  

In spite of the fact that the locks are closed through the winter they still see about 10,000 ships a year pass through carrying mostly iron ore, copper, and grain. 

How do you get a 76 ft wide ship in an 80 ft wide lock?

The rain is not steady but off and on, just when you think it’s stopped and things start to dry a bit, it rains again. I left the locks in another shower, cleaned my bike and lubed the chain in the rain, walked back downtown to dinner in the rain, and all over camp we hear people talking about more rain tomorrow. 

There is a very nice common room on campus with a fireplace and as I write this tonight it’s raining again outside while I watch shoes and clothes dry. 

The weather forecasters finally got it right. We had rain all through the night although there was a little pause at 5:30 so we got to pack up our tents and eat breakfast before it started again. We had rain, 56°, and 12-15 mph headwinds most all the way. 

Our fearless SAG drivers were still out there supporting us. 

The Point Iroquois Lighthouse Station affords some spectacular views of the Bay after you climb 79 steps up the circular staircase to the top of the tower. Unfortunately today everything looked gray, same color as the sky. 

After the Lighthouse the rain and wind intensified so it was the  low point of the day for me. Then we came upon the Dancing Crane Coffee House on the side of the road out in the middle of nowhere.  A great refuge where we dripped and left large puddles of water on the floor and chairs. 

A man fell off his bike, knocked unconscious, broke helmet, and didn’t remember the incident but insisted he was fine to ride.  I was recruited to describe my experience and convince him to go to hospital to be checked out where he was kept overnight. 

Camping is on the Lake Superior State University campus for the next two nights, with 3000 students it’s Michigan’s smallest university. They have a great cafeteria and we had a good dinner. The view from my tent of the International Bridge crossing the St. Marys River into Canada. 

Laundry, bike cleaning and sight seeing tomorrow in Sault Ste. Marie. 

Today’s route was as advertised. After we turned out of the school at Newberry there was not another turn until we turned into Paradise where we stay for the night. 
A short distance from Newberry we had a stop at the North Star Bakery, where they are completely off the grid, generate their own power and bake with wood in a brick oven. 

They had prepared for us by making a batch of cinnamon rolls and coffee, unfortunately ran out of coffee. 
Next up was the Tahquamenon Falls State Park. This is the Upper Falls and the reddish brown coloring is tannin. 
Here are my friends, Brian and Kathleen from Toronto who I met on Bon Ton Roule in 2013. 

As we were getting ready to leave the park, it started to rain so we hung out in the concession area of the park to wait it out. There were many cedar swamps along the way which is home to a large moose population. Unfortunately I never saw one.

Whitefish Point Lighthouse and Ship Wreck Museum on Lake Superior where this area has claimed at least 240 ships. More than any other area on the Great Lakes. 

Including the famous Edmund Fitzgerald. 
They must have really bad winters here. 

We’re spending the night in Paradise. 
Camping at the school which teaches kindergarten through high school, has a total student body of 25 and some years may only have 1 senior to graduate. 

This is Chad of Chainsaw Chad’s. He makes some great stuff. 

It’s rained every single day so far but we have been able to avoid riding in it so far. The forecast is for thunderstorms starting tonight and through tomorrow. I hope the forecast is wrong but we will ride on to Sault Ste. Marie no matter what. 

Sorry I only took one picture today because this is what I saw for 40 miles. 

The rest of the time we rode on the shoulder of highways next to fairly heavy truck  traffic. I had a flat about 5 miles from the end, but fixed it without incident and rolled on. I did get to ride with a couple from Toronto who I met on the Finger Lakes trip back in 2013 so that was fun. 

Tomorrow promises to have some interesting sights but is 60 miles with only 2 turns, one at the start and one at the end so it’s going to be difficult to get lost.  Stay tuned. 

St Ignace Pre Ride

A special treat, sitting inside my tent looking out the door last night when I took this picture. Fireworks are set off from a barge out in the harbor every Saturday night during the summer. 

Today we had a little 30 mile pre tour. It’s very early but here are some of my initial reactions to the area. I talked to a guy who lives here and he told me that people move here because they want to “get away from it all”.

Population is very sparce and the area looks a little like time has left it behind. 
There were miles and miles of nothing but straight road without cars. There was a delightfully conspicuous lack of trash and litter, the scenery isn’t cluttered with road signs, billboards, or advertising. 
We did pass this beautiful Brevort Lake where many of the boats were aluminum or  homemade with a 5 or 10 horsepower motor. Only a few high power ski boats. 

We had some rain this evening, but when it ended and we were rewarded with a total double rainbow over the tents.  Packing up and off to Newberry tomorrow 70 miles away.